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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Sun Aug 31, 2003, 10:40pm
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Question

During a rain delay today, this sitch came up from some softball umpires.

R2 only, count doesn't matter. F1 delivers pitch. R2 takes lead on release, and then begins stroling toward 3rd slowly. F2 returns ball to F1. F1 either forgets about R2 or ignores her, and R2 keeps moving toward 3rd without a stop. F1 steps on pitchers plate and delivers a "pitch" to batter who has remained in batters box in a ready position while R2 is between 2nd and 3rd.

What do we have????

I first proposed "no pitch". Then was asked what do we do with the runner, and what do you do if the battter hits the second pitch? I didn't have an answer.

The umpire that offered the sitch stated he had received an interp from someone at USSSA that the runner was out for being off base before second pitch was released.(I'm not sure who offered the interp, or if it was official.) None of us liked that, as there is no rule requiring a runner to advance at any certain speed.

Ruling a quick pitch didn't seem to fit, because that only refers to the batter being ready.

I'm interested in the oppinions here, in ASA or Fed.

Thanks,
Roger Greene
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Old Sun Aug 31, 2003, 11:35pm
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WestMichBlue has brought this up before (on eteamz, at least, of not here)

What you have is an inattentive umpire. Any umpire that would take his position behind the catcher and call for the pitch with an active baserunner legally "running" (although slowly) the bases needs to find another avocation.
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Old Mon Sep 01, 2003, 01:08am
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"The umpire that offered the sitch stated he had received an interp from someone at USSSA that the runner was out for being off base before second pitch was released.(I'm not sure who offered the interp, or if it was official.)"

The custodial engineer (janitor) was the only one on duty. He answered the call.

I'm with Dakota.

Bob
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Old Mon Sep 01, 2003, 06:05am
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dakota
WestMichBlue has brought this up before (on eteamz, at least, of not here)

What you have is an inattentive umpire. Any umpire that would take his position behind the catcher and call for the pitch with an active baserunner legally "running" (although slowly) the bases needs to find another avocation.
The umpire didn't call for the pitch, but he didn't kill the ball because the runner was still advancing. (That is the problem with my suggestion of calling no pitch--the ball is dead and now what do you do with the runner?)

Roger Greene
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Old Mon Sep 01, 2003, 06:26am
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Quote:
NFHS
8-8 RUNNER IS NOT OUT

ART. 10... The runner is not given sufficient time to return to a base. The runner will not be called out for being off the base before the pitcher releases the ball. EFFECT: "No pitch" will be called by the umpire and the runner(s) will be permitted to return to the proper base(s) without penalty.
In a way I feel putting the runner back at the previous base "cheats" the runner is she was trying to advance. However, it is the batter's fault for taking her position.
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Old Mon Sep 01, 2003, 08:35am
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Quote:
Originally posted by SC Ump
Quote:
NFHS
8-8 RUNNER IS NOT OUT

ART. 10... The runner is not given sufficient time to return to a base. The runner will not be called out for being off the base before the pitcher releases the ball. EFFECT: "No pitch" will be called by the umpire and the runner(s) will be permitted to return to the proper base(s) without penalty.
In a way I feel putting the runner back at the previous base "cheats" the runner is she was trying to advance. However, it is the batter's fault for taking her position.
Speaking ASA.

I certainly don't believe you can even come close to faulting the batter. The batter is not only encouraged to stay ready, but required by rule to keep one foot in the box between pitches unless circumstance prevents it.

Tom is correct that the umpire should have not taken his/her position until the runner completed her running task.

If the umpire isn't in position, then you have nothing more than the pitcher throwing the ball to the catcher to prevent the runner from scoring.

If the umpire is in position, and the BU notices and call "no pitch", I would follow ASA's guideline set forth in their obstruction ruling that when the ball is killed due to a defensive violation, the runner is placed based upon the base to which they are the closest at the time of the call.

Under no circumstance can you rule the runner out for simply playing the game.

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Old Mon Sep 01, 2003, 08:58am
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I believe, in ASA, you have the wording "immediately" with regard to how the runner should move in whichever direction she has chosen once the pitcher has the ball in the circle. Therefore, if the runner is still walking I don't feel she has been penalized by calling "no-pitch" and putting her back on base. If she really wanted to steal, she should have run!
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Old Mon Sep 01, 2003, 09:06am
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Quote:
Originally posted by pollywolly60
I believe, in ASA, you have the wording "immediately" with regard to how the runner should move in whichever direction she has chosen once the pitcher has the ball in the circle....
True, but that refers to making the decision and beginning moving - it says nothing about how fast.
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Old Mon Sep 01, 2003, 10:16am
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dakota
Quote:
Originally posted by pollywolly60
I believe, in ASA, you have the wording "immediately" with regard to how the runner should move in whichever direction she has chosen once the pitcher has the ball in the circle....
True, but that refers to making the decision and beginning moving - it says nothing about how fast.
But does that not apply only to the look-back once the runner has come to a stop? Certainly, it does not apply to runner legally leaving the base in an attempt to advance to the next in a continual motion. BTW, there is no mention of a runner being required to "run" at any point in the game.



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Old Mon Sep 01, 2003, 11:52am
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So it's no pitch. In ASA, the runner gets the closest base and in NFHS goes back to 2nd.
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Old Mon Sep 01, 2003, 01:58pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by CecilOne
So it's no pitch. In ASA, the runner gets the closest base and in NFHS goes back to 2nd.
Speaking ASA

Only if the umpire is not doing their job, or the pitcher, catcher and batter are not paying attention.

The umpire should be out from behind the catcher toward 3B, mask in left hand watching the runner advance to 3B. As the PU is moving to that position, s/he may want to quietly state, "step out, batter" in an even further effort to prevent a possible problem. If none of this grabs the girls' attention and the pitcher begins the delivery with a batter in the box, then I would rule "no pitch" and place the runner on the closest base.

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Old Mon Sep 01, 2003, 03:01pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by IRISHMAFIA
Speaking ASA

... s/he may want to quietly state, "step out, batter" in an even further effort to prevent a possible problem...
I do not certify with ASA, but I presume that there are certain circumstances which give a batter the liberty to step out of the batter's box. If one of those circumstances has occurred, then I think it would be the duty of the coach to offer any coaching advice to the batter. The umpire stating, "step out, batter" would seem to me to be a directive and I'm not sure an umpire would have that authority if not calling time.

As for moving out of the PU's ball/strike-calling position to a place slightly toward third base, I would think this would be a good suggestion... even if the call at third is not the PU's call.

If the umpire is out of position and if the pitcher were to deliver a legal pitch to a batter that is legally in the batter's box, then as far as I know the results of that pitch would stand... ball, strike, out, hit, whatever. In this case, as least in NFHS, the book states that the result of the pitch is a no-pitch, with the runner returning.

The only time I have seen anything close to this happening was in rec baseball when rain was threatening and the winning offensive team was trying to get to the end of five so they would have a legal game. I can't imagine it ever happening in a fast pitch softball game. If they want an out, just leave the base early.
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Old Mon Sep 01, 2003, 06:26pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by SC Ump
I do not certify with ASA, but I presume that there are certain circumstances which give a batter the liberty to step out of the batter's box. If one of those circumstances has occurred, then I think it would be the duty of the coach to offer any coaching advice to the batter. The umpire stating, "step out, batter" would seem to me to be a directive and I'm not sure an umpire would have that authority if not calling time.
Of course he would. He's telling the batter that no pitch is going to happen right now, so relax. The batter is obligated to keep one foot in the box between pitches as a means to avoid delaying the game. If the umpire's attention is on a runner between bases, the batter is hardly delaying the game if s/he steps out.

Quote:
If the umpire is out of position and if the pitcher were to deliver a legal pitch to a batter that is legally in the batter's box, then as far as I know the results of that pitch would stand... ball, strike, out, hit, whatever. In this case, as least in NFHS, the book states that the result of the pitch is a no-pitch, with the runner returning.
If I'm standing up watching a runner, and the pitcher is silly enough to try a pitch, I'm sure not "calling" the pitch, or letting any result stand. If necessary, I'll use ASA Rule 6FP-10D to call a "no pitch."
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Old Tue Sep 02, 2003, 08:52am
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"None of us liked that, as there is no rule requiring a runner to advance at any certain speed."

ASA Rule 8, Section 7, T-1
The Runner Is Out
A runner is legitimately off a base after a pitch or as a result of a batter completing a turn at bat, and while the pitcher has control of the ball within an eight foot (2.44m) radius of the pitcher's plate, the runner may stop once, but then must immediately return to the base or attempt to advance to the next base.


"True, but that refers to making the decision and beginning moving - it says nothing about how fast"


The words "must immediately return or must immediately attempt to advance" seem to imply the total movement of the batter - not just beginning moving. (IMHO) If, in my judgement, I have a runner attempting to immediately advance to the next base ( in which case the runner will be running, NOT walking or strolling), and the pitcher steps on the pitcher's plate, as the PU I would call a "no-pitch" and allow that runner to attain the next base. If my timing is correct and the runner is truly attempting to advance, the runner will be reaching the base at about the same time I complete my "no-pitch" call. However, if the runner is merely walking or strolling between bases and the pitcher is clearly in the circle with control of the ball, then I don't believe the runner is truly "immediately attempting to advance". Maybe attempting to distract the pitcher, but not really attempting to advance.
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Old Tue Sep 02, 2003, 09:12am
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Quote:
Originally posted by pollywolly60
"...must immediately ... attempt to advance to the next base."

The words "must immediately return or must immediately attempt to advance" seem to imply the total movement of the batter - not just beginning moving. (IMHO)
They don't imply that, and I don't infer that. The runner is obligated to decide immediately, and indicate that decision by starting to move immediately. The runner must continue, non-stop, toward the base chosen. The runner cannot, according to my high school physics teacher, "immediately" advance to the base, so there is no implication here of speed. Only movement.

Quote:
If in my judgement, I have a runner attempting to immediately advance to the next base ( in which case the runner will be running, NOT walking or strolling), and the pitcher steps on the pitcher's plate, as the PU I would call a "no-pitch" and allow that runner to attain the next base.
Actually, what I would do is make an obvious move to indicate to the pitcher that she is not to pitch - move out up the baseline, move out into the infield, verbal command, something.

Quote:
If my timing is correct and the runner is truly attempting to advance, the runner will be reaching the base at about the same time I complete my "no-pitch" call. However, if the runner is merely walking or strolling between bases and the pitcher is clearly in the circle with control of the ball, then I don't believe the runner is truly "immediately attempting to advance". Maybe attempting to distract the pitcher, but not really attempting to advance.
I disagree with your good/bad assessment of the runner's play. Base runners are allowed to, as Mike said, play the game.

Is a runner doing something shady because the runner attempts to get into a hot box in order to allow another runner to score? No. It is part of the game.

If a "no pitch" is necessary here (and the umpire should not jump the gun on that), then the runner will be "penalized" (sort of) by being sent back if her "advance" was so slow that she had not reached the half-way point at the time the ball was declared dead. But, the umpire should not attempt to enforce any particular style of play on the participants.
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